South Africa bags first mRNA tech transfer hub; The EU’s push for a declaration at the WTO


WHO has said:

“The consortium involves a company called Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, which will act as the hub both by manufacturing mRNA vaccines itself and by providing training to a second manufacturer called Biovac. In time, Afrigen could provide training to other manufacturers in Africa and beyond. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention will provide guidance through the Partnership for African Vaccines Manufacturing.”

…“We are now in negotiations with several companies that have indicated interest in providing their mRNA technology to the hub. This selection will be based on how advanced the technology is, in terms of clinical efficacy data, and on the terms under which the company is willing to share its technology.”

“What needs to happen next is Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech must immediately share their mRNA technology with the hub so that many more mRNA vaccines can be produced independently by manufacturers in South Africa and more broadly on the African continent, as soon as possible.

“All pharmaceutical corporations that share their technology with the hub through technology transfer agreements must do so in a transparent and non-restrictive way to maximize the chance of success: any licenses must include all low- and middle-income countries, and technology recipients must be free to build on the platform technology to tackle other health threats.”

Image Credit: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

“We agree that:

a. A pandemic is ‘a national emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency’ within the meaning of Article 31(b) of the TRIPS Agreement. For the purposes of issuing a compulsory licence pursuant to Articles 31 and 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement, a Member may waive the requirement of making efforts to obtain authorization from the right holder, provided for in Article 31(b).

b. In the circumstances of a pandemic and to support manufacturers ready to produce vaccines or medicines addressing the pandemic at affordable prices for low- and middle-income countries, a Member may provide, for the purposes of determining the remuneration to be paid to the right holder pursuant to Article 31(h) and paragraph 2 of Article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement, that the remuneration reflects the price charged by the manufacturer of the vaccine or medicine produced under the compulsory licence.

c. In the circumstances of a pandemic, for the purposes of Article 31bis and paragraph 2.c) of the Annex to the TRIPS Agreement, the exporting Member may provide in one single notification a list of all countries to which vaccines and medicines are to be supplied by the exporting Member directly or through indirect means, including international joint initiatives that aim to ensure equitable access to the vaccines or medicines1 covered by the compulsory licence. It shall be presumed that such joint initiatives supply those vaccines and medicines to eligible importing Members within the meaning of paragraph 1.b) of the Annex to the TRIPS Agreement.”

(It is understood that, in the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, COVAX is an international joint initiative within the meaning of this paragraph.)

EU Submission on WTO General Council, June 21, 2021






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